Real Challenges and Techniques of Bible Translation

A taste of translation and linguistics is coming to California

  • June 2, 2017
Three women enjoying TOTAL It Up!
Having fun and learning about Bible translation and linguistics at Wycliffe's TOTAL It Up! event.

When people think of Wycliffe Bible Translators and the work we do, they often assume we need linguists. And we do, but that’s not all. We need teachers, literacy workers, IT experts, managers and just about anything you can imagine.

Even our linguists don’t necessarily do linguistics work every day. Many other tasks, like community partnering, language survey, administration and computer adaptation are required to make Bible translation a reality.

This full spectrum of the translation process is at the heart of the TOTAL It Up! California experience. The four-day event is hosted at Biola University July 25-29, 2017. The “TOTAL” in the name stands for “Taste of Translation and Linguistics,” and the team does its best to give a complete picture, with experienced translators on site.

“We gear the event to provide experiences and interactions that can help attendees see if translation work is something God is calling them to,” said Linda Hughes, director of TOTAL It Up! California.

Each day of the event focuses on a different aspect of translation work. The linguistics day includes grammar games to see if you can “crack the code,” a session on the sounds of language, a translation simulation and the opportunity to create your own literacy picture book. And TOTAL It Up! California uniquely offers a segment on computer adaptations and translation software like Adapt It. You’ll also talk about media partnerships and training nationals, and participate in a teambuilding Olympics.


Another day is focused on the one-on-one translation approach. You’ll participate in a role play “meeting” with local residents like a pastor, a chief and others — a very real field experience to determine the direction for a project.

Each evening includes skits and field reports from translators who understand the challenges and rewards of working in Bible translation. Living, eating and working together with these veterans allows you to ask the questions that arise during the sessions and explore your own interest in Bible translation work.

TOTAL It Up! participants worshiping God around a piano
Gathering around the piano to worship God at the day's end.

Your final day includes the challenge to write one-syllable proverbs, a discussion on various ways to encourage Scripture use within a community and the opportunity to determine what translation your team might use for a particular language group.

“By the end you will know what your next step is in working in Bible translation,” Linda said.

Don’t miss the opportunity to join TOTAL It Up! California at Biola University July 25-29, 2017. Register here today, and check out the Facebook event to get more information and stay updated!